Artist Statement

“My Portuguese-American ethnicity has been a source of inspiration. As a child and teenager, I was raised in the tight-knit Portuguese-American community of Ludlow, Massachusetts, spoke only Portuguese at home, and was influenced by the traditions that my parents brought from Portugal when they immigrated to the United States from the farming town of Evora, Alcobaça, in the 1950s. For me, art is autobiographical and no matter where my explorations take me as an artist, they are always firmly grounded in my cultural roots. This has taken many different forms over the years. At first, focusing on my ethnicity translated into realistic paintings of the people and places of my culture. Although this work was once exciting to me, when I look back at it now I feel it was narrowing my self expression. By painting realistically, I had begun to stereotype my culture, creating images that I thought others would like to see. More recently, my visual representations of my ethnicity have been less literal, less concrete, but the ethnic influence is always there, in the symbols, colors and materials, and in the process of creating the artwork itself. The process of creation has become more intrinsic rather than extrinsic.”

José L Santos

Jose Santos was born in the U.S. He currently works as a high school art teacher in the Boston, MA area. Mr. Santos has taught art at all levels from kindergarten to college for more than twenty-five years. He received a BFA in illustration and painting 1984 as well as a Master of Science in art education 1999 from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Most recently 2019 Santos had a solo art exhibit at multicultural Arts Center Cambridge, MA called Portuguese People and places. He has been an active member of the Fort Point Artist Community in Boston where he participated in virtual open studios with numerous podcast interviews in 2020. Most notably, in 2013 Santos was  the center of a PRI.org interview called “What it means for Jose L Santos to be a Portuguese- American artist.” In 2018, the Archdiocese of the Catholic Church of Europe commissioned Santos to create a body of work consisting of a series of paintings and drawings of historically significant Portuguese Bishops. These works have been turned into a large tile mural which is installed in and around the Cathedral in Braga, Portugal. Additionally, the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, MA acquired several of Santos’ works in 2004. In 2021 Museum Pio 12 in Braga, the most relevant collection of religious art in Northern Portugal, also acquired several painting as part of their permanent collection. He also has pieces currently in the Gallery at Firehouse Square in New London, Connecticut. He creates and exhibits art work throughout the United States and abroad. 


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